Saturday, November 06, 2010
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Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Zenyatta a mare we can all rally around

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by Zenyatta: The Boise State of horses.

Q: Oh, come on, man. You're not going to dump on that gorgeous mare, are you? Finally we have a horse that we can all pull for in the Breeders' Cup Classic, a horse that has a chance to cap an undefeated career today, and you're going to ruin it?

A: Not at all. Gooooooooo, Zenyatta! But we need a little reality check amid all this hype. Yes, Zenyatta is 19-0. Yes, she's raced in (and obviously won) 13 Grade 1 stakes races. She even drinks Guinness! Impressive stuff.

Q: So what's the problem?

A: She didn't compete in the Triple Crown events as a 3-year-old. That has to be factored into her legacy. Those are the only races that matter to the casual sports fan. Even the Classic doesn't register on a wide scale, given all that it competes with in the fall. It's still a good story, a fun story, but let's not put Zenyatta up there with Secretariat.

Q: OK, that's fair. Did you see where trainer Derek Ryan compared Zenyatta to Gisele Bundchen, describing her thusly: "Tall, big long legs like a freak"?

A: I'm sure Gisele appreciates that analogy. What woman wouldn't? The horse is pretty foxy, though.

Q: Who is the best quarterback in the ACC?

A: Tyrod Taylor, but you could make a case for Russell Wilson. The sad thing is a lot of the other candidates are banged up. Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt joined the wounded Thursday night when he broke his arm against Virginia Tech. Jacory Harris looks like he'll miss Miami's next two games after his concussion sustained at Virginia. I'm not sure Duke's Sean Renfree really wants to be facing a defense from the commonwealth today.

Q: Speaking of college quarterbacks, what are we to make of this whole Cam Newton situation?

A: Troubling, but there are still more questions than answers at this point. Ask again next week.

Q: What are you, a Magic 8-Ball now?

A: Signs point to yes.

Q: How about those San Francisco Giants? Don't you love how those crazy misfits and castoffs won the World Series without any superstars?

A: I'm glad you mentioned that. I am happy for them; they're an extremely likeable and deserving team. But America (and other countries, if they're doing it) needs to stop with the "misfits and castoffs" characterizations of this team. True, the Giants had a lot of spare parts playing big roles. But the difference-maker in the series was Tim Lincecum -- a guy who happens to have won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards and has led the league in strikeouts three straight years. That, by definition, makes him a superstar. Pitching counts, too, you know.

Q: Earlier this week on Twitter, Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva accused Celtics forward Kevin Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient," an apparent reference to Villanueva's skin disease that leaves the body hairless. Garnett denies it, saying he just called the guy a cancer to his team and the league. Where do you stand on this?

A: Any question that begins, "Earlier this week on Twitter" is going to be a doozy. I happen to believe Villanueva's telling the truth and Garnett's trying to cover his fanny. Regardless, tweeting about trash talk -- even potentially offensive trash talk -- just seems like bad form. Leave it on the court, fellas.

Q: Who wins Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Texas?

A: Jeff Gordon.

Q: Who are you cheering for in today's huge college football matchup between unbeaten TCU and unblemished Utah?

A: Gooooooooo, Zenyatta! Beat Zenyatta!

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